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Breaking the record for corporate response time to an email query, this just in:

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your note.  Our ingenuiTEA and iced ingenuiTEA are made of

polycarbonate. We are following the story and news regarding plastic and

leaching closely. Presently, the United States Dept of Health sees 'some

concern' and an FDA investigation will be conducted. If the results do show

that they are a hazard, we will be discontinuing the sale of polycarbonate

items.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'm having a hard time really evaluating the teas I bought last weekend.

I am trying my best to follow the brewing recommendations. Amount of tea, water temp, and time. I have been brewing in coffee mug with no infuser or anything. When it's done, I pour it into another mug (warmed) with a infuser basket in it to catch any leaves.

I am not sure what it is exactly, but I think I am hung up on thinking tea needs to be "strongly flavored" to be good. Now, of course, there is nothing wrong with liking or preferring a strongly flavored tea. But I think that I am unable to appreciate something more subtle.

I just made a cup of the Darjeeling I bought. It's nice, but it's not what I would call a strongly flavored tea. Last night, I brewed up some of the Blue Spring Oolong. That had an interesting sweetness to it. There were also some other things going on in there too. While not a "strong" tea, I think the Oolong is something I need to look into some more.

Still unsure if any of the ones I have from there now will be in my regular rotation. The Ceylon Sultane was nice. The French Breakfast seems like it would be great if I were having a plate of cookies or something like that.

But back to strong teas. Can anyone recommend some strongly flavored black teas? Next time I get down to TCC, I think I will be more specific in what I ask for.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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If you mean non-scented/flavored black teas, I would suggest something in the Assam or Keemun ranges.

You might also like Scotch or Irish Breakfast types.

Yes.. I am mostly looking for non flavored/scented teas for drinking hot.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I'm having a hard time really evaluating the teas I bought last weekend.

I am trying my best to follow the brewing recommendations.    Amount of  tea, water temp, and time.  I have been brewing in coffee mug with no infuser or anything. When it's done, I pour it into another mug (warmed) with a infuser basket in it to catch any leaves.

I am not sure what it is exactly, but I think I am hung up on thinking tea needs to be "strongly flavored" to be good.  Now, of course, there is nothing wrong with liking or preferring a strongly flavored tea. But I think that I am unable to appreciate something more subtle.

I just made a cup of the Darjeeling I bought. It's nice, but it's not what I would call a strongly flavored tea.  Last night, I brewed up some of the Blue Spring Oolong. That had an interesting sweetness to it.  There were also some other things going on in there too.  While not a "strong" tea, I think the Oolong is something I need to look into some more.

Still unsure if any of the ones I have from there now will be in my regular rotation.  The Ceylon Sultane was nice.  The French Breakfast seems like it would be great if I were having a plate of cookies or something like that.

But back to strong teas. Can anyone recommend some strongly flavored black teas?  Next time I get down to TCC, I think I will be more specific in what I ask for.

We're going to be able to be more helpful, Jeff, if you state exactly what you are doing when you say you are following the brewing instructions. Specify time, temp, amount of leaf and amount of water -- each time and for each infusion. Also are you using tap water or filtered water. As I mentioned here somewhere, vendors brewing instructions are often fairly generic, do not necessarily brew a specfic tea best, and most importantly such directions are best used as a starting point for experimenting with the various brewing parameters to get the best result for your taste.

From my own past experience, I think you may be on to something regarding realizing that there may be more subtle aspects of tea drinking and that you were anticipating a "strongly" flavored taste. While there certainly are very good strongly flavored teas, developing a tea palate takes some time and experience with many teas for most of us.

You may just want to settle on two or three teas quickly and then stock up on them, and that's fine, but if you are taking a more explorational approach to all this, then I would encourage you to slow down and buy only an ounce of each tea at a time and continue to play with the brewing parameters for each tea to learn what produces the best result for you. An ounce of tea goes a long way, so even when I find a tea that I like a great deal, it is unusual for me to buy more than two ounces at a time.

You are right that there can be a lot of things going on in an Oolong, and there are many kinds of Oolong with different flavor profiles.

And it is also true that everybody does not like all teas equally well. It may turn out that you don't care that much for Darjeelings, for example, but very much like Assams or English breakfast blends.

You want to meet a strongly flavored tea, so I'll send you a few grams of a Lapsang Souchong, a Chinese red/black tea with a smoky, leathery aroma and taste. Keep it away from your other teas, or you'll end up with Lapsang Blue Oolong.

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i think imho that jeff should try only one type of tea at a time-

baozhong first and then more fermented/ oxidized-oolong

and to purchase only sample sizes-

i purchased most of my first teas from upton bcz of their large selection and variety of teas.

and stay away at beginning from earl grey, etc.

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For brewing, I am starting with the guidelines suggested on the bag the tea came in (TCC prints up labels for each). I measure as carefully as I can by volume. All the teas I have save one say 212 degrees for a temp. That's easy. I just bring it up to a full boil. I live close enough to sea level to make that essentially 212. The water is right out of the tap. I DO let it run for several seconds to ensure it's fresh.

I think maybe you are right that I slow down a bit and try to explore what I have and experiment more with brewing the teas I DO have. I still have plenty of each to do so.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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For brewing, I am starting with the guidelines suggested on the bag  the tea came in (TCC prints up labels for each).  I measure as carefully as I can by volume.  All the teas I have save one say 212 degrees for a temp. That's easy. I just bring it up to a full boil.   I live close enough to sea level to make that essentially 212.  The water is right out of the tap. I DO let it run for several seconds to ensure it's fresh.

I think maybe you are right that I slow down a bit and try to explore what I have and experiment more with brewing the teas I DO have. I still have plenty of each to do so.

I think maybe I am not being clear about what I think from experience will be helpful. Or perhaps I misunderstood and you are not asking for assistance with getting the best infusions out of your tea leaves. I understand that you are "starting with the brewing instructions on the bag the tea came in from (TCC prints up labels for each)".

From what you have written, what we do not know is 1) what the label says for each tea, and 2) how much water you are using each time you make a first or subsequent infusions, 3) if you are doing multiple infusions and what parameters you are using for those. We really can't tell exactly what you are doing, so it makes it difficult for us to make suggestions for tweaking the brewing of the first or subsequent infusions. If you are indeed wanting some feedback, here is what I am suggesting you tell us; if not, feel free to ignore:

Name of Tea

First Infusion

Amount of tea: by weight or by volume ____

Volume of water:______ml/ou

Pre heat brewing vessel and cups?______

Brewing Temp:________

Length of brew:________

Second and Subsequent Infusions:

track same data for each infusion if you are doing multiple infusions

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oopss.. Sorry. I guess I should have included all the details in my previous post. I have been including some details in other posts, but not in a neat and organized manner like you have detailed above.

I'm away from home at the moment, so I don't have access to the bags of tea, but from the top of my head, let's go with one I did this morning.

Ceylon Sultane

First Infusion

Amount of tea: by weight or by volume: 2 measuring teaspoons *

Infuser?: No. Brewed loose in pot.

Volume of water: 16 fl. ounces **

Water type: City of Dallas, straight from the tap.

Pre heat brewing vessel and cups? YES

Brewing Temp: Full boil when poured. (212 F) But I didn't actually temp it. ***

Length of brew: four minutes.

* I used plastic measuring spoon. My more preferred stainless measuring spoons were in the dishwasher

** I didn't actually pour from the kettle, into a measure than into the pot. I measured the volme of the pot in advance and got a reference of where 16 ounces would be.

*** I didn't temp it throughout the brew process either. No real convenient way for me to do that with the equipment I have.

This turned out well, I think. Better than when I first tried before. I think maybe I measured a little better this time, getting the ratio of tea/water more correct.

---------

I AM doing multiple infusions, but so far all of my comments have been about the initial infusion. I don't want to skew anything in case I am doing multiple (second) infusion with teas that aren't suitable for it. I think I will hold off on commenting about that until I get a better feel for the initial infusion. (that, and it may warrant it's own dedicated topic)

I'll say that I am still refining my brewing process based on the equipment I currently have on hand in the kitchen. I'll also say that my measuring may not always be super precise, especially the water part. Maybe the containers I brew in aren't exactly holding the amount I think they are. I measured them in advance and noted what they held or where 8 ounces or 16 ounces would be. In other cases, I've filled the container up, dumped it into a measure and then calculated the number of 8 ounce servings I can get. (for example, 3.5 servings) Then, from there, I can get a decent approximation of how much tea I need. So, if the tea were to say 1 tsp. per 8 ounce cup, I would use 3.5 tsp. for the pot. Really, I am trying to make this pretty simple without getting *too* anal about all the measures. I'd like to think that by some point, I could say "to make a full pot of this tea in this pot, put in x amount of tea and fill with water"

When you heat your water, do you carefully measuring out the amount of water you need, then heat it, then use it all? I don't do that. I just put some fresh tap water into the kettle, put it on the stove, let it boil, then pour.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I'm away from home at the moment, so I don't have access to the bags of tea, but from the top of my head, let's go with one I did this morning.

Ceylon Sultane

First Infusion

Amount of tea: by weight or by volume:   2 measuring teaspoons *

Infuser?:  No.  Brewed loose in pot.

Volume of water:   16 fl. ounces **

Water type:  City of Dallas, straight from the tap.

Pre heat brewing vessel and cups?  YES

Brewing Temp:  Full boil when poured.  (212 F) But I didn't actually temp it. ***

Length of brew:  four minutes.

*  I used plastic measuring spoon. My more preferred stainless measuring spoons were in the dishwasher

**  I didn't actually pour from the kettle, into a measure than into the pot.  I measured the volme of the pot in advance and got a reference of where 16 ounces would be.

*** I didn't temp it throughout the brew process either. No real convenient way for me to do that with the equipment I have.

This turned out well, I think.  Better than when I first tried before.  I think maybe I measured a little better this time, getting the ratio of tea/water more correct.

---------

Pouring directly from the kettle makes sense to me, too. I go by the temp of the water that is poured, but not during the brewing. No reason to check the temp throughout the process as a regular thing, but you may find it interesting sometime to check the temp a couple of times between the start and say 5 minutes for each of your brewing vessels just to get a sense of how they hold/lose heat.

For your Ceylon, my suggestion would be to increase the leaf: water ratio from 1 tsp to 8 ounces to 1 tsp to 6 ounces for your 4 minute first infusion and see what changes in the aroma and taste.

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I AM doing multiple infusions, but so far all of my comments have been about the initial infusion.  I don't want to skew anything in case I am doing multiple (second) infusion with teas that aren't suitable for it.  I think I will hold off on commenting about that until I get a better feel for the initial infusion. (that, and it may warrant it's own dedicated topic)

The results of the first infusion can inform what to do to get the most out of the second infusion.

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I'll say that I am still refining my brewing process based on the equipment I currently have on hand in the kitchen. I'll also say that my measuring may not always be super precise, especially the water part.  Maybe the containers I brew in aren't exactly holding the amount I think they are.  I measured them in advance and noted what they held or where 8 ounces or 16 ounces would be.  In other cases, I've filled the container up, dumped it into a measure and then calculated the number of 8 ounce servings I can get. (for example, 3.5 servings) Then, from there, I can get a decent approximation of how much tea I need.  So, if the tea were to say 1 tsp. per 8 ounce cup, I would use 3.5 tsp. for the pot. Really, I am trying to make this pretty simple without getting *too* anal about all the measures.  I'd like to think that by some point, I  could say "to make a full pot of this tea in this pot, put in x amount of tea and fill with water"

When you heat your water, do you carefully measuring out the amount of water you need, then heat it, then use it all?  I don't do that. I just put some fresh tap water into the kettle, put it on the stove, let it boil, then pour.

Unless you think you have mismeasured or are not fairly sure of where the 8 and 16 ounce lines are in your pot, what you are doing sounds realistic to me.

I'd like to think that by some point, I  could say "to make a full pot of this tea in this pot, put in x amount of tea and fill with water"

Yes. After you have played with the variables and have figured out how you like it best, you should be able to do this with no trouble for a specific tea.

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I have been following this thread with interest.

I just started brewing loose tea in a seperate, pre heated, ceramic pot.

my latest tea is a

ti kwaun yin oolong, and I am also using an English breakfast and an orange spice .

I am brewing 20 oz batches (the size of my cup), using about 6g per batch

My question is , how critical is the temp of the water , and what allowances do I need to make for a lower than 212º temp.?

My max temp(depending on barometric pressure) is 201º +- 2º or so.

Any direction would be appreciated....

Bud

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I have been following this thread with interest.

I just started brewing loose tea in a seperate, pre heated, ceramic pot.

my latest tea is a

ti kwaun yin oolong, and I am also using an English breakfast and an orange spice .

I am brewing 20 oz batches (the size of my cup), using about 6g per batch

My question is , how critical is the temp of the water , and what allowances do I need to make for a lower than 212º temp.?

My max temp(depending on barometric pressure) is 201º +- 2º or so.

Any direction would be appreciated....

Bud

Thanks for jumping in to the discussion, Bud. Here are some ideas you could try. Whatever tastes best to you is what's important, of course.

TGY: 2.5 g per 6 ounces water at 195 F for 3 minutes, first infusion. Add one minute for each subsequent infusion. You may well get 4 infusions or more. If #4 is beginning to taste a little weaker, you can try to save #5 by using a little less water and/or increasing the temp.

English Breakfast: 2.5 g per 6 ounces for 4 minutes, first infusion. 5 minutes second infusion.

If the orange spice is an herbal tea or is black tea based and has been tasting a little weak, increase the amount of leaf and/or extend the brewing time.

For all three then, you can experiment from your starting point by adjusting the brewing time and/or leaf:water ratio until you get the best result for your taste.

Any one else have suggestions for Bud?

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Hello-Realizing that this is a very subjective subject, here are my thoughts:1)whenever possible, it is best to stick to the water temp. rules, 1a-When it is not possible to stick to water temp. rules, increase steeping times, 1b-Continue to increase steeping times -on the first and subsequent cups-until you get a brew that you like, 1c-follow Richard's advice, 2)It should be easy to get a good cup of TGY, 3)let us know how things turn out.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Hello-Realizing that this is a very subjective subject, here are my thoughts:1)whenever possible, it is best to stick to the water temp. rules, 1a-When it is not possible to stick to water temp. rules, increase steeping times, 1b-Continue to increase steeping times -on the first and subsequent cups-until you get a brew that you like, 1c-follow Richard's advice, 2)It should be easy to get a good cup of TGY, 3)let us know how things turn out.

OK Guys, Thanks for the advice. I have been unintentionally increasing the times, by getting distracted, so that probably the reason the TGY has been so good..

I am amazed that I get easily 4 steepings out of it. Its also amazing that two tsp's makes such a large mass of leaves...guess thats why it goes 4 steeps...I have used up my first purchase (only one oz.) and will go back to the store and get some more. They also had another oolong variety that was "darker and heavier" not sure what it was but will try some of that as well... They were $3.50 an ounce

The eng. bkfst and orange spice are easy to make good cups from no matter what...

Again, tnks for the advice

Bud

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I'm late to this "tea party", but I hightly recommend the book entitled "The Agony of the Leaves" by Helen Gustafson (sp?). It opened up a world of tea enjoyment to me. I believe the book is no longer in print, but I am sure you can find it on ebay or in Kitchen Arts and Letters. Nothing beats the two pot method, it is so worth the extra pot. I bought a great little japanese cast iron cutie with a strainer at TJ MAX for under $20.00, it keeps the tea hot for a good long time. Enjoy your new discoveries!

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  • 8 months later...

Here's an interesting piece on "How to Choose a Tea" on teasource.com. There find a short quiz and scroll down for an interesting chart using food (and music) preferences to suggest teas you may like - bread, apple, cheese and beer preferences. Not sure at all about the music chart, but there is something to the food preference matches.

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That tea guide questionnaire is interesting, and according to the 'what food do you like section' I should look for nearly every type of tea given that I like

home made whole wheat bread

granny smith apples

no beers

sharp cheddar

and most kinds of music, at one time or another

but my question today is,

how are you measuring your tea leaves, in grams, when posting brewing/tasting notes:

an electronic scale?

manual scale with weights?

eyeballing?

I have an electronic scale at home that measures to a single gram, but it is not really trustworthy below about 10 grams. And I have nothing like that at work, where I drink most of my tea.

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You may find this topic on Tea: To measure or not to measure of interest, WmC.

Some very familiar tea leaves I can eyeball, but I explore many, many teas each month and tools such as the scale and a thermometer help a great deal. If I have only 25 grams of a relatively expensive tea, I really don't want to waste any of it by winging it.

I use a very small digital scale that is accurate to a tenth of a gram, aMy Weigh 500-ZH. It's similar to the one on norbutea.com. The cost of very small, very accurate scales has come down so much in the last few years. You can get one in the $20 - $30 range easily.

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That's a very helpful link.

As I explore more varieties of tea, I would like to be able to more accurately compare my proportions to what others are doing.

When it was just the red tin Ti Kuan Yin or the yellow tin green jasmine, it wasn't an issue, but now, with such variety in the shapes and densities of the different leaves, it is.

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  • 2 months later...

Reading the tea threads has brought to my attention the fact that I happily drink in great quantity mostly "pitiful" or at the least very pedestrian teas. As part of the educational process on teas, tell me what specifically differentiates a pitiful tea from a more supurb tea?

Taste, color, texture, nasty chemical content, brewability (?), aroma, etc etc.

Details please.

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